I can hardly believe how quickly Lucia is growing up, at nearly 5 months old she is a furry bundle of energy, so quick and eager to learn and in true spaniel fashion spends most of her day running round the house, toy in mouth and tail wagging furiously. Having a new puppy is hard work, but such a joy and as it’s widely believed that the window for socialising and introducing a puppy to new things is between 8 -16 weeks I made sure to make the time to allow Lucia to experience as much as possible. (hence me neglecting to update the blog regularly – sorry guys!) Anyway, I thought I would share with you 6 things I did with Lucia to try to give her every opportunity to become a well rounded, friendly and confident little cocker spaniel, just like her sister, Maya.
- Meeting other people and dogs in different situations is an obvious one. We took Lucia literally everywhere with us, at first in our arms, (before she had completed her shots) and then under her own paw power. Pet shops are great for socialising as everyone loves dogs and wants to say hello and once Lucia’s inoculations were finished she headed straight to the dog park – a must for us urban dwellers! Puppy classes are also a great place to meet other pooches and connect with dog lovers in your local area.
- Lucia has visited many dog friendly cafes, pubs and shops and was only 10 weeks old when she had her first sip of a puppuccino! I strongly recommend you do this with your new pup as it will pay off when you really fancy a coffee or a pint. City centres are also great as there is so much going on, though I warn you it will take you ten times longer to go about your business as everybody wants to say hello to the little cutie!3. Even before Lucia could walk out I got her used to traffic, busy city centres and walking in the rain. Even just walking down the road you live on at different times of day can get your pooch used to the sounds and sniffs of everyday life and if they are lucky, like Lucia, they may even glimpse a cat!!. Don’t forget to take your pup out when darkness falls either!
4. From day one we took Lucia on a daily short car ride and she has also travelled on the bus and the train a couple of times. So far nothing has phased her – even when she has been on her own with me. (I have deliberately taken her out to experience things on her own as well as with Maya)5.Lucia loved her first visit to the beach and was a huge fan of sand!! It’s great to get your pup to dip a paw in the water too, Lucia was a little suspicious of the waves at first but is a fan of swimming in the lake!! I also made sure that Lucia walked on a variety of different surfaces – pebbles, tarmac and zebra crossings as well as grass, earthy pathways and of course in the woods.
6. I started to introduce Lucia to being alone for short periods (15 -30 minutes) very early on. I work from home so the girls are rarely on their own but I think it’s an imperative skill to teach your dog. Finally, and this may seem a really obvious one, make sure you get your pup used to being bathed and brushed too as the last thing you want is a dog that’s afraid of baths – especially if it’s a spaniel LOL!
The most important thing though is to enjoy your little one’s puppyhood – I know it can be full on but it’s so, so enjoyable! I’d love to know your thoughts on puppy socialisation – why not leave a comment below.
Love Sal, Maya & Lucia xxx